My daytrip into downtown DC started with a stop-off in Arlington, VA at the Pentagon. It took us a while to figure out which side of the Pentagon the Memorial is on because similar trees are planted on an adjacent side of the building. When I was growing up in northern Virginia, both of my parents worked in DC. My dad worked very close to the Pentagon and would sometimes pick up colleagues there, so on 9/11, I was one of those terrified children wondering whether I would see my parents again. I did, but I have never had the opportunity to visit the Memorial and pay my respects to the people who died here on that terrible day. Needless to say, this was a meaningful moment for me.
The memorial includes benches, created with a very modern aesthetic in mind, each of which has a victim’s name inscribed on the side. Underneath each bench is a pool of water. In the photo, it looks like these tiny “reflecting pools” are just shadows, but they are amazing to look at in person. From the Pentagon, we looked out into the skyline of Arlington, which included the Boeing headquarters, Pentagon City Mall, and Interstate 395.
I am not sure what the official name of this beautiful pool of water in the middle of the Garden is (perhaps one of our readers does). It sits in front of the National Archive on Constitution Avenue, and many ducks are fans. Wading is not allowed unless you’re a duck, but some tourists had taken off their shoes and dipped their feet into the water along the sides. Amusingly, the ducks were swimming around the outside of the circle and stopping to grab bites of food from generous tourists.
Next, we took a trip to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, which was one of my absolute favorites, growing up. The Hope Diamond is here on the 2nd floor and seemed to be the major exhibit in the Museum, still. There were tons of museum guests crowded around the display, many with their cameras out, snapping away. I couldn’t even get close!
To be honest, though, the Natural History Museum was quite crowded all over yesterday, and I believe many DC museums are in the summer. Visitors flock from around the world! The crowds made for kind of a warm, sticky experience, but you can buy water ($3) and ice cream ($5) from vendors on the outside if the heat gets to you.
I spent the rest of the afternoon viewing monuments and famous buildings from a distance. This is the Washington Monument as seen from the National Mall. Notice that there is a ton of construction occurring on the outside of the building.
This is the US Capitol Building. Yesterday, I posted a photo of me here.
I took this photo from 395-South as we were leaving DC. It’s a blurred photo of the Jefferson Memorial with the Washington Monument in the background.